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Bill Hevel: AP Chemistry, Science Olympiad Coach • Troy High School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

It is early in the morning, but it still feels like nighttime as our cars crunch over the new-fallen snow. By the time the sun is up, my twenty-nine peers and I are at school. It is Saturday and we are here for our much-awaited Science Olympiad Competition.

While we compete in various events, our coach, Mr. Hevel, supports, advises, and cheers us on. When we get discouraged, Mr. Hevel encourages us to give it our best effort, and the strength behind his words is enough to help us aim higher. He is a truly inspirational teacher because he goes above and beyond the job requirements; he doesn't go the extra mile, but rather, the extra mile and a half. These competitions happen frequently and usually last from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. His dedication and passion is seen not only though the hour-long treks to different competitions in sun, wind, or even snow, but also through the passionate way he encourages us to strive for our goals.

Mr. Hevel is not only my coach, but he is by far one of the best teachers I've ever had. Mr. Hevel is a master at teaching his subjects. He makes college-level AP chemistry seem easier than I could ever imagine. He skillfully simplifies the most difficult problems and guides his students every step of the way until slowly, we learn how to manage on our own. But don't get me wrong – I am not suggesting that the class is simple. Mr. Hevel starts out with easy problems and leads us to the hard ones. The problems that originally made us panic now look effortless in comparison.

The best educators are the ones who teach us that learning does not consist of merely learning laws, formulas, and equations; but rather they are the ones who inspire students to strive to learn new things.

Mr. Hevel teaches AP chemistry not only by lecturing us with the information in the textbooks and with his rich knowledge, but also by demonstrating real-life applications and reminding us constantly that chemistry is fun. One of the many memorable hands-on experiments he set up for us was to identify ­different chemicals by heating and mixing them. The color-changing chemicals and flickering sparkles from reactions delighted me. From those labs, I gained a wider appreciation for chemistry and learned a plethora of knowledge along the way. By the end of Mr. Hevel's lessons, I see how everything connects into a grand puzzle. With new insight, my curiosity grows and my work ethic and understanding of chemistry is enriched. Mr. Hevel has played an essential role in inspiring me to take more chemistry.

Mr. Hevel sacrifices his free time to help students excel. He is there at least an hour before school starts and stays many hours after school ends. One of the most important factors that elevates a teacher to excellence is approachability, and Mr. Hevel embodies that. Whenever I am puzzled about a concept, his calm, clear explanations allow me to think critically and analytically.

Wonderful educators have the skills to keep a class of teenagers – even hormone-driven ones – deeply engaged. In some of my other classes, I get restless and glance at the clock waiting for class to be over. But in his chemistry class this all changes. Mr. Hevel grabs our attention by integrating amusing stories into his lessons. Though the stories may be fun, they always contain deeper life lessons he wants to share.

A great teacher is a dedicated mentor who shapes students' futures and opens metaphorical doors of opportunity. A wonderful teacher also has dedication and passion to inspire students to achieve greatness. They take additional time, effort, and energy to relate to students and teach them valuable information and lessons of all forms.

I am privileged to have Mr. Hevel in my life; he is not only a great teacher, but a truly exemplary one who has forever impacted my life. Thank you!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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